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Wealth Column: How to save more for retirement

It is recommended you save 15% to 20% of your income for retirement. That probably sounds daunting, but it is achievable. Consider raising your contributions by 1% per year.

Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb, financial advisers at Wealth Enhancement Group and co-hosts of “Your Money” on KLKS 100.1 FM on Sunday mornings.
Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb, financial advisers at Wealth Enhancement Group and co-hosts of “Your Money” on KLKS 100.1 FM on Sunday mornings.

All of the best investment strategies in the world depend on one thing — saving money. Prioritizing and setting aside money for retirement is the first step toward meeting your financial goals in retirement.

So why don’t more people do it? Two reasons. They don’t think they will ever retire, and they don’t think they can afford it. We have news for you. You probably will, and you probably can. Here are some tips for making it so.

Related: Wealth Column: Caring for your parents Financial advisers Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb, Wealth Enhancement Group, take a look at the needs of the 'sandwich generation.'

Make saving automatic

It is recommended you save 15% to 20% of your income for retirement. That probably sounds daunting, but it is achievable. Consider raising your contributions by 1% per year.

One way to make this easier is to commit to saving before you ever see the money hit your account, this gives you an important psychological advantage. Tools such as automatic deposit into a savings account can lessen the temptation to splurge.

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It is also a useful budgeting tool. If you consider a portion of your income to be “locked” then you can make key decisions about home mortgages, car purchases and vacations.

Related: Wealth Column: Planning your long-awaited vacation Vacations are a big-ticket item. They will have an impact on your budget and, if you don’t play your cards right, you can wind up interfering with your long-term goals.

Take advantage of employer contributions

You’ve heard us say it before. You will hear us say it again. It will be true every time. If your employer offers an employee match for your 401k or 403b, take advantage of it.

Avoid the temptation to procrastinate and put it off. Generally speaking, you can make these changes any time of year; you don’t have to wait for open enrollment. If you are not enrolled in your company’s plan, or are unsure of how to adjust your contribution, reach out to your human resources team.

Related: Wealth Column: Post-COVID spring cleaning Financial advisers Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb, Wealth Enhancement Group, look at pandemic organizing of finances. What do you keep? What do you get rid of and how?

Start thinking about taxes now

Especially if you are a young worker, you may be heavily invested in tax-deferred accounts. This can be a real problem when required minimum distributions hit and you are stuck with a high tax bill.

This might sound like a good problem to have. If you are paying a lot in taxes, that means you have plenty of money squirreled away, right? We’ll tell you this. Never once has a client come to us in retirement and said taxes are not a big deal. Keep in mind, this is the money you will have to live on some day.

If you think adding an extra 1% of your income to savings is daunting, try paying an extra 5%, 10% or 15% in taxes! You want to make sure your retirement savings are diversified, not only by asset class and company risk, but by tax liability.

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Related: Wealth Column: Avoiding scams amidst the chaos Financial advisers Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb, Wealth Enhancement Group, look at common scams with reminders on how to avoid losing money, especially with stimulus checks in bank accounts or on the way.

Engage a seasoned adviser

In addition to providing personalized advice, your adviser can also be the kick in the pants you need to start getting serious about your retirement. You’d be surprised how much more diligent people get about their savings when they have to look at the person who knows everything about their finances straight in the eye.

Related: Wealth Column: Timing is everything with Social Security Decisions on when to retire will determine how much Social Security will be there for retirement. Financial advisers Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb, Wealth Enhancement Group, outline considerations in making that decision.

Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb are financial advisers at Wealth Enhancement Group and co-hosts of “Your Money” on News Radio 830 WCCO on Sunday mornings. Email Bruce and Peg at yourmoney@wealthenhancement.com. Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, LLC, a registered investment adviser. Wealth Enhancement Group and Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services are separate entities from LPL.
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